Tuesday, 22 February 2011

81 words

Recently I joined the LGBT society at my place of work. It's only a small group, some peoople I know, and some people I don't. It's a nice group, and we socialise from time to time which is a nice way of meeting new gay people.

As February is LGBT month and in the light of new equalities legislation that includes sexuality amoing gender, religion, age etc as one of the areas in which people have legal protection, the lead of the group put on a recording of '81 words' as one of the events for the History month.

81 words is the story of how in 1973 the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental illness. It was a very good programme, and well worth listening too. It is quite high-level, so it doesn't go into a great deal of depth. But the narrator is the granddaughter of the Association's president, who himself came out as gay when he was in his 70s.

The programme can be downloaded, or you can read a transcript at http://www.abc.net.au/rn/allinthemind/stories/2007/1992653.htm

The history of homosexuality is very interesting to me, as I'm a history buff and partly because I'm cheerfully a fairy. Although it doesn't go into great detail the programme discusses people welcoming homosexuality's' classification as a mental illness, because before it was considered a crime against God.

It reminded me of a previous discussion that noted the relative sexual permissiveness of modern catholic countries over the secular protestants. This was ascribed to the scientific revolution of evolution and biology (amongst the other sciences) that made sex about reproduction and thus homosexuality aberrant. In catholic countries the balance between god and gonads gave gays a bit of a breathing space. I know that's a gross over-simplification but it strikes me as a counter-culture to the evolution of my sexuality from sin to sickness to normal life.

The programme is well worth a listen, gentle reader - at least I think so. Let me know what you think too.

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